How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
This may be good news to some; however, caution at the dinner table is still warranted. One pound doesn't seem all that much but consider this, one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. Note that this means you have to negate these 3,500 extra calories one way or another to maintain your body weight in the long term. The best approach is through a combination of exercise and dietary changes.
In general, in order for you to lose this extra pound of body fat within one week, you would have to create a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day. This means you would need to increase your daily energy expenditure by about 250 calories and reduce your total caloric intake by approximately 250 calories per day. In other words, you will have to forgo your daily fancy coffee drink and walk for an additional hour per day for the week.*
If you'd rather not risk the extra weight gain, the American Dietetic Association recommends that you do the following to keep your weight in check this holiday season:
- Practice portion control. Use smaller plates to "trick" your mind into thinking that you are eating more.
- On the day of your holiday dinner, cut calories from your other meals to balance total daily caloric intake.
- Just have "samplings" of the higher calorie dishes and fill up on the healthier fare available (e.g., steamed vegetables).
- Avoid conversing around the buffet table where temptations lie. Also, leave the dinner table when you are through eating. Your conversations can be carried on in another room where food and drink are not readily available.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
American Dietetic Association
ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, Sixth Edition.